Public Choice

, Volume 164, Issue 1–2, pp 75–85 | Cite as

Regulation and corruption

  • Randall G. HolcombeEmail author
  • Christopher J. Boudreaux


Higher levels of government expenditures and more regulation naturally invite corruption, because they provide the opportunity for government officials to be paid off for regulatory favors, subsidies, and government contracts. Some countries have relatively large governments but lower levels of corruption. Scandinavian countries offer examples. While institutional differences may explain some of the cross-country differences in corruption, the most consistent relationship is that high levels of regulation are associated with more corruption. When looking at the effect of the size of government, it is the regulatory state, rather than the productive or redistributive state, that is associated with corruption.


Corruption Regulation Size of government Scandinavia 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the helpful comments from Russell Sobel, two referees, and the journal’s editor.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Randall G. Holcombe
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christopher J. Boudreaux
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.School of Business, WHTC 206CTexas A&M International UniversityLaredoUSA

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